Mage Counter vs Hunters?

Posts: 164
I lose 70% of my games against Hunters. I win over 50% against other classes.... I've read countless threads about how Oped they are, and I can't help but agree...

I've built all kinds of decks to try to counter a Hunter but still fall short...

Any ideas from other Mage players would be appreciated.

Thank You
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Posts: 396
aggro mage seems to do just fine for me
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Posts: 164
@sef

What is an aggro mage?
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Posts: 194
Try to avoid having more than 1-2 minions on the board at a time if possible, it holds them back from playing UTH. You're going to want some Owls and pay attention to the abilities of the beasts they drop, it's easy to overlook their +DMG beasts and +Charge beasts.
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Posts: 12
1) Almost always use your Polymorphs on the Savannah Highmanes

2) Frostbolts are effective against Houndmasters and Scavenging Hyenas

3) Anything else can be killed with your Fireballs

4) Using the above spells can help maintain board control

5) Always try to anticipate his Unleash the Hounds and Buzzard combo to minimize damage

6) Keep Sunfury Protectors to taunt your big minions like Boulderfist Ogre

7) Watch out for Explosive Traps
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Posts: 170
08/20/2014 03:04 PMPosted by D00mM4r1n3
Try to avoid having more than 1-2 minions on the board at a time if possible, it holds them back from playing UTH. You're going to want some Owls and pay attention to the abilities of the beasts they drop, it's easy to overlook their +DMG beasts and +Charge beasts.


If you play 1-2 minions he'll overrun the board with his cheap 1-2 drops and by the time you get your aoe it's too late.

If you play more than 2 minions to effectively *try* to trade with his cheap ones he'll murder you through release the c*unts as you have so correctly metioned.

No matter what one does vs hunter is 50-50 and even when playing optimally hunters on current meta and zoolocks thanks to blizzard will dominate over us.

The only viable option is to master and play one yourself and push for legendary that way which most people do hence the huge number of hunters/zoolocks. The only actual counter to such crap is control warrior and sadly I don't have the deck for that else I would control warrior ftw without a second though.
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Posts: 1,176
08/22/2014 11:16 AMPosted by mmofun
08/20/2014 03:04 PMPosted by D00mM4r1n3
Try to avoid having more than 1-2 minions on the board at a time if possible, it holds them back from playing UTH. You're going to want some Owls and pay attention to the abilities of the beasts they drop, it's easy to overlook their +DMG beasts and +Charge beasts.


If you play 1-2 minions he'll overrun the board with his cheap 1-2 drops and by the time you get your aoe it's too late.

If you play more than 2 minions to effectively *try* to trade with his cheap ones he'll murder you through release the c*unts as you have so correctly metioned.

No matter what one does vs hunter is 50-50 and even when playing optimally hunters on current meta and zoolocks thanks to blizzard will dominate over us.

The only viable option is to master and play one yourself and push for legendary that way which most people do hence the huge number of hunters/zoolocks. The only actual counter to such crap is control warrior and sadly I don't have the deck for that else I would control warrior ftw without a second though.


if he barely plays anything, he has the combo in hand, just continue playing slowly

If he floods the board with those cheap 1-2 drops, you have to take the risk and hope he didn't get a good hand and the uth combo.

You can't play around UTH indefinitely, the hardest is to know when to start flooding the board. Too early and it will be a disaster, too late and he you may have allowed him to draw into the combo.

As a mage it's a tough match-up, but not impossible if you can read his hand.

Counterspell can counter UTH but you need the hunter to not have flare or tracking. Aggro works nicely if he doesn't counter you with UTH Secrets are viable... but flare.
Mirror entity can give you a highmane... or just some more fodder for his UTH. Spellbender is good against the mark, but doesn't counter anything else in the hunter's deck,
Kirin tor counter all his 1-2 drops and deal lots of damage, but gets killed by the bow, knife juggler can kill his 1 health minions (if you go aggro), but you need to summon minions which means more hounds with UTH.

It's a tough one, but I think you can break with an even winrate if you're able to read his hand.
Edited by Nawasty on 8/22/2014 11:37 AM PDT
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Posts: 170
08/22/2014 11:32 AMPosted by Nawasty

If he floods the board with those cheap 1-2 drops, you have to take the risk and hope he didn't get a good hand and the uth combo.


That's exactly the problem, no matter what we are on their mercy. My win rate is exactly 50% against them after almost 200 games total about 35-40% of them being vs hunters ranks 3-1.

Which means if we play optimally it's a matter of pure luck.

At the moment I also have a rate of 60+% vs zoolock. BUT with hunters consisting the majority of the fights my overall rating drops by a lot!

Going agroo as a mage vs Hunter is not viable either maybe instead of 50% we increase our win% to max 70% but on current meta about 25% of decks are control and against them we got 0% chance if we play agroo therefore the overall win% will go to dust.

Short story an optimal play vs hunter on a balanced midrange/value mage deck leads to a stunning 50%. That deck has a chanse to compete with handlock/control warrior/druid/shaman/priest with a maximum of 60% win. The problem is hunters at the moment consist of almost 40% of total encounters in top tiers so it's a tough job to really cut it through as a mage now the overall win rate due to meta drops to approximately 56%.
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Posts: 346
My secrets mage is doing quite well vs hunters. The key cards are Belchers, Ghouls and Duplicates.
Use the Belchers and Ghouls to keep back the hounds. Don't play them at the same time. You can essentially play more than 3 minions if you have one of these to protect them.
Try to duplicate the Belchers. Hunters quickly run out of steam trying to punch through 4 Belchers, which is basically 8 taunts. Especially when you drop 3 Belchers in successive turns.
To stop the flares from destroying our duplicates, we have to use Counter-spell (or any secrets) to bait them out. I would value duplicated Belchers over getting value from Counter-spell. To give you an idea how important I value the dups+Belchers, there was a game where I dropped the Mad-Scientist on turn 2, that got killed and drew me a Dupe. Rather than play a 3 or 4 drop, even though he had minions on board, I just hero-powered to turn 5 before I dropped my Belcher.
Just be patient and don't try to out-race them. Kill their 2 Highmanes, nullify their hounds, always keep a taunt up when you are in their lethal range incase they have a Leroy. After all that, drop a Rag onto them.
Edited by Tywin on 8/23/2014 2:00 AM PDT
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Posts: 24
One thing I've taken to doing lately is adding 2x arcane explosion to my secrets deck. It's useful for cleaning up after UTH, but most important is dropping it with either BMT or Kobold Geomancer. 4 mana - 2 damage to board, will clear most of the little things before you can get belchers out. I go about 55/45 against hunters (rank 7 or 8 now). Was a lot better against zoolocks, but I face them less often this past week or so. At first I added 1 AE, but it wasn't in my hand on turn 3/4 when I needed it that way. It is frequently a dead draw past turn 5, unless you use it to proc antonidas or to use with flamestrike to clear out 5 toughness guys (which I actually got great use out of against sylv + loatheb (obviously didn't come out that turn) + cairne one time), so running 2 isn't necessarily the best idea, but it really has helped my win% vs the zoolocks and hunters in the last few weeks.

Some people might already run it, but mostly I don't ever see it and so nobody ever plays around it against me. I've also started running Malygos over Ysera the last two days just to try and get some good lategame value out of it, but not had Malygos either live or didn't have lethal with him out to try.

tl;dr Arcane Explosion is actually useful in this meta to help survive until your late game mage powers, maybe give it a try.
Edited by Ururun on 8/23/2014 6:48 AM PDT
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Posts: 46
I'm playing a mid-range mage which seems to do really fine against hunters.The tricks is to not have a lot minions on board in order to minimize the power of unleash the hounds.Spell can do all the dirty work for you!
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Posts: 578
In April (when the Hunters were everywhere and there were hordes of ppl crying how overpowered they were) I built the deck with one sole purpose: kill Hunters.
It was a Midrange/Tempo Mage deck with quite a few divine shield guys (to help control the board), KTM, Counterspell x2 and I was playing it extremely aggressively (not giving a damn about UTH and actually forcing it on turn4/5 with ~4-5 minions on the board). The plan was that Hunter CANNOT check for Counterspell against such a huge board (because then he will not have mana for combo and be in double-fireball range by the next turn) which led to A LOT of UTH-Counterspelled-concede. This deck (with constant tweaking because of reasonable amount of Control Warriors at that moment) carried me all the way to rank1.

I'd advice to just put x2 Counterspell and play some aggressive Midrange Mage. As a Mage you can't play it slowly against Hunter because heropower scales better as both players run out of steam.
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Posts: 37
Good advice here.

Hunters are not easy to beat, but secrets and solid minions like Water Elemental and Sludge Belcher help. If you can duplicate your 4 & 5 mana drops and get a few on the board, he's not going to have an answer. They survive explosive trap, and his doggies do not do enough damage to take out everything (especially the belchers). Use the Water Elementals to freeze his face when he has a bow out. Hunters will have card advantage, so you should maintain board advantage and kill him that way.

If you can, try mirror entity on turn 6 to stop them from playing Highmane (or even better, get yourself one).

Try not to have many cheap minions out once you hit turn 5+ since that is the earliest they can combo without the coin.

Unstable Ghoul is also a strong answer to unleash the hounds. He still gets the card draw, but the dogs won't be able to do much damage.
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Posts: 3,236
08/25/2014 10:33 PMPosted by Strangepants
Unstable Ghoul is also a strong answer to unleash the hounds. He still gets the card draw, but the dogs won't be able to do much damage.


Very true, but I feel UG is strictly anti-hunter and not nearly as valuable otherwise.
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Posts: 164
You guys have all been helpful. Thank You very much.
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Posts: 6
I've been tracking my progress. I'm having a lot of success against hunters running secrets. I know they have flares but my deck has 6 secrets in it. Counterspell can really hurt them if you can get it up early because it stops their traps and flares. I'm 11 - 4 against the last 15 hunters I've ran into at ranks 4 - 6. Having a hard time w/ Miracle Rogue and Zoo though.
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Posts: 3,236
08/26/2014 05:12 PMPosted by Jeterey
I've been tracking my progress. I'm having a lot of success against hunters running secrets. I know they have flares but my deck has 6 secrets in it. Counterspell can really hurt them if you can get it up early because it stops their traps and flares. I'm 11 - 4 against the last 15 hunters I've ran into at ranks 4 - 6. Having a hard time w/ Miracle Rogue and Zoo though.


well done!
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Posts: 5
use taunts, those new nax 5mana ones are good,as they help to minimize mark damage
poly lions
that means generally using a control deck, but you will probably win in 70%+ of the cases
if you have expensive legendaries like ragnaros,ysera or alextraza, I would use them - playing defensively will make hunter waste cards, in the end he wont be able to counter your expensive cards
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